Pilates can help just about anyone to become stronger
Many people come to us with a history of injuries or illness that has resulted in poor fitness and a sense of weakness. The good news is that Pilates can help just about anyone improve their fitness and become stronger.
How does Pilates do this?
Pilates is not just about strengthening or stretching the body. It is a method of exercise where you can address the movement imbalances that have occurred through poor variety of movement (our modern society of convenience has a lot to answer for), as a result of pain or injury or perhaps after birth or pregnancy. It is retraining your brain to utilise muscles that are designed to support your body through movement. It increases the co-ordination of your muscles to improve balance and improve the biomechanics of your movement so to prevent injury, or recover from injury.
When you experience pain or injury, the brain will react in a way initially for survival. The way that you move changes to avoid putting pressure on the injured area. This is important initially, but over time if we do not return to a normal pattern of movement, the risk of re-injury can increase, or pain may occur in another area of the body. Pilates can address the changes in movement that your brain has learnt as a reaction to past pain or injury.
These habits of movement can also occur from poor variety of movement. If you have a desk job, and stay active by cycling to work for example, even though you are exercising your body, your joints are actually still not experiencing a VARIETY of movement: they go through the same sitting positions over and over again. Our bodies are designed to move and to move in a variety of ways, to keep our joints, our muscles, nerves, blood vessels and all the way down to our cells and DNA, functioning at the optimum. Pilates allows you to stretch and move your body in positions that you do not usually do in your day to day environment.
And finally, for people who have experienced pain for a very long time, or who have perhaps been diagnosed with conditions such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, Equipment Pilates can offer a gentle approach to exercise, in which we can start in positions that are comfortable and supportive, on gentle resistance that does not flare up pain.
Movement is just so important for anyone who experiences pain - for the physical body, as well as for the emotional and mental health. It allows your brain to recognise the nature of pain, help to desensitise your brain to movement and assist your emotional wellbeing.